What’s it all about?
Churches across Scotland and worldwide are encouraged to celebrate Sanctuary Sunday (also called Refugee Sunday) on 26 June (during the week of World Refugee Day). There are more displaced people in the world today than at any other point in history and the Bible is clear in its expression of God’s loving concern for the stranger and refugee.
Celebrating Sanctuary Sunday is an opportunity to express our prayers and solidarity, but also to raise awareness again of our Christian calling to welcome the stranger and do this openly and proudly.
Below are some resources to help you prepare for this day, the majority of which have been written by people who have personal, lived experience of having to flee their home country and finding refuge in Scotland; or of people with lived experience of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers in their congregations and communities. Please join us as we celebrate our diversity and cultural richness in our local faith communities. We want offer a vision of hope, friendship and solidarity.
How can I get involved?
1. Celebrate Sanctuary Sunday in your local church or faith community
The theme of this year’s Refugee Festival Scotland is ‘storytelling’ and we have collated 5 stories told by people seeking and offering sanctuary to inspire conversation and prayer in the days leading up to Sanctuary Sunday. They will be posted on our social media channels every day between 20 and 24 June and can also be downloaded as a complete set here. Please feel encouraged to use them in your mid-week prayers, discussions, devotions and bible studies.
Sanctuary Sunday Worship Material
Together with refugees, asylum seekers, local churches and the Church of Scotland we have produced a weekly worship resource for Sanctuary Sunday. Weekly Worship offers individuals and congregations a range of suggested material which can be used to develop worship for Sunday services. You’ll find reflections on bible passages, sermon ideas, personal stories, song suggestions and prayers for Sanctuary Sunday in this resource. The contributions in this weekly worship material have all been written by people who have personal, lived experience of having to flee their home country and finding refuge in Scotland; or of people with lived experience of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers in their congregations and communities.
Sanctuary First Late Show Podcast
Listen in to the Sanctuary First Late Show podcast on 24 June where you will hear from Maqsood Umeed Bakhsh and Rev Linda Pollock share their experiences of seeking, offering and finding sanctuary in Glasgow.
Online Church Service and videos
A full ecumenical online service and a series of individual videos that can be used as part of your local Sanctuary Sunday service are available to stream YouTube (recorded in 2021). These include all elements of a service (songs, prayers, readings and a sermon). In addition, you might want to stream a video recorded by Welcome Churches during your church services on Sanctuary Sunday. Justice and Peace Scotland has produced an activity resource for children in schools which you can download here, and CTBI collated some bible reflections for refugee week.
God With Us Bible Studies
Why not organise a series of local church bible studies on the theme of sanctuary in the run-up and during Refugee Week (18-26 June) using the God With Us worship resource? In partnership with CTBI we produced this worship resource on the theme of refuge, migration and sanctuary. We have worked ecumenically to create it and it includes bible studies, prayers, liturgies, stories, poems and discussion ideas, as well as suggestions of what you can organise during refugee week. You can download it or order physical copies here.
2. Join in with Refugee Week and Refugee Festival Scotland
Refugee Festival Scotland takes place every year in the lead up to World Refugee Day, on 20 June. People from refugee communities make a huge contribution to life in Scotland and this is something worth celebrating. The festival shows off the cultural richness and diversity of Scotland’s communities – the food and drink, music and poetry, art, dance, language and ideas that people bring with them when they settle in Scotland. You can see the full programme of events here.